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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » What constitutes stealing? Concept of ownership of original material (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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garcia00
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On 2006-08-13 12:58, George Ledo wrote:
And here's where this whole "originality" thing is such a joke to me, given what I do for a living. I can sit there and watch the auditions for, say, Hamlet, and listen to eight or ten guys doing the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, or the Yorick speech, and every one of them will do it slightly different, adding their own personality to it, their own twist, their own pauses. They will use exactly the same words that Willie wrote five hundred years ago, but each one will add his own dimension to it.

Some of these guys studied Olivier, or Branagh, or someone else, in school, and maybe they copied the delivery exactly to get the hang of it, but when it came to getting out there and competing (auditioning) for the role, they put their own personality into it. Yet the words were exactly the same.


Very good points. However, I find it hard to equate the prose of the Bard with any published patter.

Also, those you hire are being hired to perform Hamlet. If you were hiring for a Comedy Club, would you hire someone who recited Cheech and Chong routines? Or quoted from Eddie Murphy's Raw. I tend to think not if you recognized the source.

I think magicians are a little more like stand up comedians than actors and musicians.

Just my opinion, but I think the performance should be personalized.
Philosophry
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I've seen a few magic shows with almost no performance whatsoever, just trick after trick with nothing to link them and no explanation as to why we're meant to be watching. It's like a watching a magic dealer demonstrating products to customers he doesn't really care about selling to.

Worse, for me at least, is a usual suspects as far as tricks go linked together with the same patter, have we ever met before... then how do you know it's me, as every other guy you've seen.

The prize, if there is one, should surely go to the guy who dresses up as a cheesey old magician performing corny magic and then proceeds perform a corny old magic routine.

The magician, rather than the tricks he performs, should be the focus of the audience attention. His act should revolve around him because without him there is no act. If you're some guy performing effects straight out of a Bannechek DVD then what's the difference between you and countless other guys doing the same thing?

Magicians who think presentation is all amout slick moves and perfect execution are like cartoonists who think expert draughtsmanship is more important than intelligent observation. I don't want to go and see a film that's all scenery and no plot, I want some action with a strong storyline.
chrismatt
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Quote:
On 2006-08-13 20:26, Philosophry wrote:
Worse, for me at least, is a usual suspects as far as tricks go linked together with the same patter, have we ever met before... then how do you know it's me, as every other guy you've seen.

The prize, if there is one, should surely go to the guy who dresses up as a cheesey old magician performing corny magic and then proceeds perform a corny old magic routine.


That's your particular taste, but you have probably seen many, many magic performances. Those same hackneyed (to us) lines and routines may be extremely entertaining to audiences who don't frequent magic conventions, view magic videos, read magic books, etc.

I have witnessed (and been entertained) by magic routines that had nothing really novel and consisted of many lines right out of magic books I was familiar with. Yet the personality of the magician shined through and carried the day.

I have also witnessed highly original routines that have bored the audience to death.

Speaking of Shakespeare, I know Act IV, Scene 1 of "The Merchant of Venice" by heart. But I am still compelled by a force beyond my control to watch or listen to its re-enactment whenever it appears on my sensory horizon. Most recently, if I'm flipping through channels and happen to see Al Pacino as Shylock, there goes another 20 minutes of my life!

We are supposed to be "actors playing the parts of magicians." I'm not sure that performers who "read the lines of others" should be automatically denigrated as artists.
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George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2006-08-13 16:12, garcia00 wrote:
Very good points. However, I find it hard to equate the prose of the Bard with any published patter.

Also, those you hire are being hired to perform Hamlet. If you were hiring for a Comedy Club, would you hire someone who recited Cheech and Chong routines? Or quoted from Eddie Murphy's Raw. I tend to think not if you recognized the source.

I think magicians are a little more like stand up comedians than actors and musicians.

Just my opinion, but I think the performance should be personalized.

Yes, I agree that Willie's plays are a notch or two above the usual published patter... Smile

On the other hand, although I agree with your general idea, I don't agree that magicians are more like stand-up comedians than actors and musicians. Comedians generally write their own stuff or have it written for them; actors and musicians have a huge amount of material from which to draw -- the literature of the art form -- and that's where they usually pull from. Magicians also have a huge amount of material from which to draw... and, IMHO, if so many of them nowadays weren't so hung up on being "original" so they can be "cool" at the local magician's club, they would pull from this existing material and there still would be enough to go around for umpteen years.

Now, before someone jumps on me for saying "Let's stop inventing," Smile that's not what I'm saying at all. My point is simply that if someone wants to be a performer, he or she needs to focus on performing, instead of diluting all that energy on making pointless changes to existing material -- or to someone else's material -- in order to be "original." You don't have to be a brain surgeon to be able to take a published trick, with the published patter, and add your own personality or your own twist to it. And that's not the same as saying, "Hey, Joe uses brown cork balls in his Cups and Balls; I'm using blue crocheted balls, so, even though I'm copying the rest of his act verbatim, I made an "improvement" to it, and now it's mine to have and to hold forever."

Now, if someone's interest in magic is strictly as a hobby, and their main focus is on learning, reading, watching DVD's, hanging out at the club, and so forth, then unto them I say, "Go for it and have fun."
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garcia00
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On 2006-08-13 21:42, George Ledo wrote:
You don't have to be a brain surgeon to be able to take a published trick, with the published patter, and add your own personality or your own twist to it.


Exactly.

Quote:
On 2006-08-13 20:58, chrismatt wrote:

Speaking of Shakespeare, I know Act IV, Scene 1 of "The Merchant of Venice" by heart. But I am still compelled by a force beyond my control to watch or listen to its re-enactment whenever it appears on my sensory horizon. Most recently, if I'm flipping through channels and happen to see Al Pacino as Shylock, there goes another 20 minutes of my life!



I find the same thing happening every time the Godfather comes on. Or Clockwork Orange.
George Ledo
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The Godfather, yep. I'm also guilty of the same thing whenever Casablanca or Jaws comes up. It's the experience of watching them, and possibly a bit of remembering who we were and how we felt the fist time we saw these movies, and they felt spontaneous, and we didn't know how they would end.

I try so hard, whenever I see Zombie nowadays, to go back to that first time I saw it on TV. I was maybe eleven or twelve, and it sent shivers down my spine.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Jonathan Townsend
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Anchoring.

It's also a skill.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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